Tag Archives: Alexa Day

The Great Female Rewrite Where Life Will Never Be The Same Again

28 Jul

By Elizabeth SaFleur

Lovelies! There’s a new female in town and she just might be YOU. If only our grandmothers–those feminist trailblazers–knew what was in store for their progeny. It might just be me but has something changed this year around female empowerment? (Ick. I can’t believe I just wrote that.) Scratch empowerment. How about a female rewrite?

I made a great discovery recently, the concept of the Great Rewrite–a fundamental resetting of some facet of our lives, planet-wide, that will change everything. According to this concept, it’s possible to go beyond mere change. A rewrite is complete and total game-changer where Life Will Never Be The Same Again. Think penicillin. Think Internet. Think what’s happening around portrayals of women right now.

I’m serious.

It’s Femme Domme week at LadySmut, and if you’ve been catching our posts all week–heck, all month because check out Kiersten Halle Krum’s ode to Wonder Woman–you’ve seen evidence of the Great Female Rewrite everywhere.

Yesterday, Madeline Iva wrote about Atomic Blond, a new film starring the exceptional Charlize Theron, as an espionage agent who’s known for her hand-to-hand combat skills. No apologies, no woe-is-me backstory, just pure unadulterated kick-assness.

Then, this–THIS–crossed my feed the other day.

Proud Mary is a new film about an assassin with a completely different take on bad assery, and well, my friends, a tbought occurred.

I can’t imagine every giving up my love for the alpha male, but perhaps the alpha female has finally taken her place next to him. Femme Domme stories are on the rise–and nothing rises in romancelandia without an audience. In fact, I’ve been compelled to dip my toe into writing a Femdom novella out this September called The White House Gets A Spanking. (Stay tuned for more later.)

All this might be occurring because perhaps the old female archetype of “the weaker sex” has fallen by the wayside?  If art and entertainment reflects society (or is it the other way around? I can never remember), then has the mold of what women are and can be and what’s attractive finally been broken? Are we finally done with women being pidgeon-holed as the victim? The heroine that needs to be saved?

Channeling my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, are we finally the HERO?

Let us know in the comments because we want to hear from you on this rise of the Warrior Woman, the Alpha Female, the . . . give yourself your own name! Because apparently we can do that now. Because we are KICK ASS.

Speaking of strong women, Alexa Day’s Femdom novella, Passing Through is yet another example of how we are taking our place, which is wherever we want to be. (Did you read her interview the other day?)

About Passing Through

The summer’s brought two surprises to bar owner Gigi Dean: the former Army Ranger she hired is the perfect barback, and he pleases her in bed as much as he does at work. Gigi swore long ago never to let a man come between her and her business, so allowing herself to succumb to her intense attraction to her employee for more than one night is a definite no-no. But for how long can she resist the desire to seduce this powerful alpha male?

Right at the start, Noah Monroe told his boss that he is just passing through on the way to a more permanent job. He hasn’t told her that his hunger for her keeps him awake at night. He won’t have more than this summer with the gorgeous woman who is his perfect match. Can he coax her into his arms for a summer fling? Or will acting on instinct cost him everything he’s begun to love?

Follow us at LadySmut and join our newsletter group to learn about all the great changes happening in the world.

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Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Bookbub and Amazon.

Hela Yes, I Want To Be A Goddess of Death!

27 Jul

I literally squealed watching this preview. The trailer for Thor: Ragnorak is *so* good.

Yes, we want more Loki–and look! It’s Jeff Goldblum! Add it to the pile of movies I’m impatiently waiting to see **cough** #WeWantAquaManNow **cough**

Hela Rad! Guess what we’re all going as for Halloween this year?

And then…she appeared. Kate Blanchet plays Hela: Goddess of Death.  The bar is now set for great acting: can you wear antlers and make it work? Kate can. Just sayin’. Also, Blanchette looks GREAT with dark hair. (I always wanted dark hair).

Action figure anyone? Kate goes Goth. LURV!!!!

I am now so massively into the whole goddess of death thing.

To sum up: I predict Hela turns a thousand little girls kinda gay.

I do love a great villain, I really do. I’ve talked about Circe Lannister before –as well as the actress who plays her, Lena Headey. I just love powerful female characters. Show me a powerful, complex, intelligent leading female character–frankly, I don’t give a damn if she’s evil.

We all relish a female character who walks around without excuses or apologies.

Let me amend that–We all relish a woman of power who walks around without excuses or apologies –and is comfortable with it.

Yes to these new powerful heroines and villains —

Bring on the child free. I confess I still inwardly roll my eyes at the otherwise wonderful Wonder Woman movie when at one point WW squeals: “Oooh! A baby!” I mean, it makes sense because she’d never seen a baby before, but I was relieved that she never seems to engage with one again. (Whew!)

Bring on the kick-ass. Bring on the women who aren’t trying to please, who don’t live for others, who live in their own skin and never cringe about it.

We all have to wait until November to see the new Thor movie (sob!) but the wait is over to watch ATOMIC BLONDE.

Quotes: from Evan Narcisse of i09:

“What’s stuck with me after seeing Atomic Blonde is the portrait it paints of the emotional decay that happens to espionage agents.”

Excellent! I LURV emotional decay! It’s my favorite kind of decay ever.

“As Percival, McAvoy doesn’t get as much of a spotlight in the action department but makes up for it by making his character luridly indulgent and seductive.”

Yes please! McAvoy is an awesome actor, and makes every scene he’s in wiggle with life. You want to crawl up on the screen and hang out with him. This is a perfect role for him.

While I love watching James, the best fun is watching a powerful woman, when she has a hot guy side-kick giving her support–of whatever kind she needs. (Wink wink. Nudge nudge. If you see the movie, you’ll reflect on these lines and know what I mean.)

“From the first, Broughton comes across as icily aloof, even as it’s shown that she had a romantic past with a murdered colleague.”

Or…um, maybe she’s just into her job? Like Bond? You don’t see him needing excuses to cold blood-edly kill—he’s just really good at it.

Thank GOD she’s not another of those movie characters who we have to watch being beaten and raped.  Or someone who wants vengeance for some crazy form of abuse.  I have great empathy for damaged, traumatized, broken women–I really do. And these stories of survival and transcendence are important.  Yet life is always better with a diverse array of choices. There are plenty of *other* excellent reasons to go out and kick ass–we don’t all have to be victims first.

Talking about Bond – that franchise is so dead and old it’s mouldering in the grave, especially now that they’ve passed on Idris playing Bond.  I’m going to look forward to more movies like ATOMIC BLONDE instead– especially if they’re written and directed by women too.

Speaking of women who are the boss of you….

I absolutely loved this interview Alexa Day did Tuesday. Having read her short story “Passing Through” I advise you to hop on this new novella on Friday, July 28.  The whole fem-dom thing is hotting up, people.  Catch the rising wave:

Click to follow Alexa Day on Amazon…so you’ll know the instant this bad boy drops.

Look — a blurb!

The summer’s brought two surprises to bar owner Gigi Dean: the former Army Ranger she hired is the perfect barback, and he pleases her in bed as much as he does at work. Gigi swore long ago never to let a man come between her and her business, so allowing herself to succumb to her intense attraction to her employee for more than one night is a definite no-no. But for how long can she resist the desire to seduce this powerful alpha male?

Right at the start, Noah Monroe told his boss that he is just passing through on the way to a more permanent job. He hasn’t told her that his hunger for her keeps him awake at night. He won’t have more than this summer with the gorgeous woman who is his perfect match. Can he coax her into his arms for a summer fling? Or will acting on instinct cost him everything he’s begun to love?

You like women in charge–don’t you? Show us your desire to please by following us at Lady Smut and subscribing to our newsletter.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

 

 

Alexa J. Day Opens Up About Femdom and Her New Release

26 Jul

 

By Alexa Day

In just a few short days, an expanded version of my novella Passing Through will be released with Blushing Books. To celebrate the upcoming release, Lady Smut presents three days of femdom festivities in keeping with the alpha heroine’s personal proclivities.

For my part, I’m contributing an interview with author Alexa J. Day. We took a moment in both our intensely busy schedules to discuss the new Passing Through, femdom, and why a touch of the inappropriate can be a very good thing.

(Yes, I did interview myself. I do it fairly often. I suspect I’m not the only one here doing that, but that’s a story for another day. For right now, just go with it, okay?)

Coming soon: shirtlessness at work!

Alexa: So I read the original Passing Through, in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. Should I pick up the re-release when it comes out, too?

Also Alexa: Absolutely.

Alexa: Any particular reason?

Also Alexa: The best reason is that the new version is about 50% longer than the last version, which is no longer available for sale. So in the new edition, we get to spend more time with all the characters — out of bed and in bed as well. Seriously, I really enjoyed drawing the hero and heroine a little more out of their shells. Former Army Ranger and Superman of barbacks Noah Monroe and his employer, alpha female business owner Gigi Dean, spend more time center stage, revealing more of their histories and the facets of their personalities that bind them together. In a way, I feel like I’ve always known them, but this expansion made me want them together even more.

Alexa: There’s more sex in the new version, too, right?

Also Alexa: Indeed there is.

Alexa: What’s up with the femdom?

Also Alexa: So the heroine, Gigi, enjoys taking charge in bed, and Noah turns out to be an ideal partner for her. He’s all about delaying gratification, testing his body to its limits, and making sure Gigi gets everything she wants. I

All that, and a dominant black heroine, too? Click and get it today.

think romance fiction has any number of alpha male submissives. Joey W. Hill and Megan Hart write those characters brilliantly, and those guys match up incredibly well with their heroines. I’ve often said that Hill’s Natural Law is a seminal work, and her new book Truly Helpless is super hot. I wrote about Megan Hart’s Beg For It back when Passing Through first released, and I still think that heroine’s desire for genuine service for the sake of service from her partner echoes the desires of many a modern alpha woman. I do think that many readers are inclined to think that the male submissive can’t be alpha, which is unfortunate. I mean, if we think a man is reduced by his desire to meet a woman’s needs — to the letter — then I think we must examine the level of importance we assign to our own needs. Gigi’s desires are so important to her that she entrusts them to her most capable employee and leaves nothing open to interpretation. To me, the best part is that Noah agrees. Of course, that leads to more problems, but that’s what makes romance awesome.

Alexa: Gigi is Noah’s boss at work, too, which is kind of a complication for her. Is the notion of office romance still taboo?

Also Alexa: I think it is for Gigi. Her business has been in the family for a long time, and she’s still worried that

Another workplace inappropro romance. Click to see that guy in the suit on his knees.

she’ll let her family down if she makes a mistake. Something like this is a big risk for her. If office romance was universally accepted, and it’s kind of close these days, Gigi would probably still feel the same way. It’ll probably always be a taboo for her.

Alexa: So when can we get hold of your book?

Also Alexa: Passing Through will drop this Friday, July 28. The easiest way to keep track of it and future releases is to subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll get a short story for free, and I’ll let you know whenever something is out and ready for you. I’ll also have exclusive stuff you cannot get anywhere else.

Alexa: Thanks so much for joining me on Lady Smut!

Also Alexa: You bet. Thanks for having me.

Alexa J. Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

On Fire Week Continues with a Femdom Twofer Tuesday

18 Jul

Click and get your copy right now — today!

By Alexa Day

We’re celebrating the release of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s anthology, On Fire, all week long, but today is extra special. This is the release date for the electronic edition of On Fire, so if you’ve got a Kindle, you could be reading right now. While you’re clicking, On Fire Week continues with a glimpse of one of my favorite subgenres: femdom.

As my colleague Rachel Kramer Bussel promised yesterday, the On Fire anthology contains a femdom story, entitled “Dreams Made Flesh.” The couple featured in the story is just starting to explore the world of female domination together. The protagonist must overcome his fear of revealing his particular submissive inclinations. He revels in competition with other men for his lover’s attention — my favorite analogy pairs the male submissive with the knight riding in the queen’s service, and author Lawrence Westerman does the same here. But the story’s sensual core lies with the protagonist’s willingness to own his submission, with his lover and with others, until he finds the pleasure he most desires with the dominant woman of his fantasies.

“Dreams Made Flesh” is an enchanting story about two people learning to acknowledge their own needs and meet their partners on their journey to pleasure. A great story to leave on your partner’s pillow if you’re struggling with that tricky conversation in real life. I love stories like that, don’t you?

Click here and get your very own copy of On Fire right this second. When you’re done, I’ve got another surprise for you all.

Ready?

No shirt? Mo’ service! Stay tuned to hear more about this hot military femdom story!

That’s the cover for my own, newly expanded femdom story, Passing Through, which first appeared in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. The novella pairs bar owner Gigi Dean with former Army Ranger Noah Monroe. As Gigi’s best employee, Noah should be off limits. She should do the right thing and refuse to act on the immense attraction between them.

But that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? Seriously, does that sound like the sort of thing I’m going to advocate in the fabulous world of erotic fiction?

I’ll have more to share about Passing Through next week, just in time for its release. Right now, build on the summer heat with your own copy of On Fire.

And follow Lady Smut.

Three Diversions for the Fourth

4 Jul

Get your fireworks wherever you can, neighbors.

By Alexa Day

A merry Fourth of July to those who celebrate!

There’s always some measure of conflict about how the Fourth is best celebrated in the States and among Americans abroad. Does the day call for a trip to the beach? A cookout? Baseball game? Fireworks? What would best embody the nation’s ideals? Does the nation still have ideals?

This year, I mark the Fourth of July with one of my family’s enduring American values: I’m working. Work is the backbone of both sides of my family, so it would feel kind of strange to have nothing to do. But the spirit of the American workplace also demands an outlet for distractions. There’s little sense to working on a holiday if you’re not going to spend part of the day goofing off.

So for those of you who are working today, and those of you who are not, I present a brief list of holiday distractions. I just have one request for you all. When you encounter those who are working today, be good to them. It’s not enough to say that freedom’s not free. For a lot of Americans, freedom is damned expensive.

Now go have fun.

1. Playboy is on point as always. Get ready to see the founding fathers in a whole new light as the venerable Bunny Mag takes you on a kinky trip through America’s past. Feel free to break out those factoids when your fellow partygoer insists on the annual history lecture. He probably doesn’t know that Ben Franklin preferred cougars.

Also, this article about Pornhub’s new interactive porn caught my eye — you guys know I love the teledildonics. Pornhub says their interactive offerings are mostly (entirely) for men and their sex toys, but they’ll be sure to have something for the ladies soon. We must fight for our rights, my friends, and hold them to it.

2. OMGYes has been around for a long time, but I’m really just becoming aware of it. It’s a large repository of women sharing their frank observations about what gets them off. (Hint: the clitoris offers a near-infinite variety of avenues to climax, the most pleasurable of which are the least direct.) It’ll cost you to get in there, but $39 is a small price to pay for so much wisdom. Indeed, for some of us, that money is a tax deduction. Ain’t America grand?

3. Teen Vogue has emerged as a powerhouse of American journalism, and I am so, so proud to be able to say that without irony. Its standout political coverage, along with fashion articles and a feature on cake decorating that delivers on its every promise, declares to this nation and the world that the interests of teen girls are diverse, all-encompassing, and not limited to teen girls. Don’t sleep on the girls. Don’t sleep on Teen Vogue.

Guess what made me happiest? You got it — this article on BDSM and consent. It refers to itself as the “teen’s guide to understanding consent in BDSM,” and its crux, that uninformed consent is not consent at all, should be printed on billboards. Also not consent? Coerced consent. Such as when someone threatens to leave the relationship in his helicopter — or other conveyance, whatever — unless you do whatever he wants without complaint.

Actually, you know what? I’m no good at being coy. I’ll just drop a quote here.

“Christian Grey essentially coerced an inexperienced novice into a world of kink— she consented, but she didn’t even know what she was consenting to,” says Gigi Engle for Teen Vogue. “That is problematic and it is wrong.”

Her truth is marching on.

Have a happy Fourth and follow Lady Smut for all the fireworks.

For Love and Money: On Paying for Companionship

20 Jun

It’s not always about the Benjamins.

By Alexa Day

Making the rounds in my corner of social media is the story of Heidy Pandora, a 24-year-old who says she is a full-time traveler. After her first trip to Mexico, she discovered she loved seeing different parts of the world. But travel is expensive. In fact, the hefty price tags kept Heidy from exploring the world as much as she wanted to.

Then she found MissTravel.com, a website for travel dating. In other words, Miss Travel connects people interested in journeying to a specific destination. Women can participate on MissTravel for free. Members propose a trip, connect with someone else interested in visiting the chosen locale, and then arrange to travel together or meet up at the destination.

Heidy says up front that she has sex with some but not all of her travel companions, and that some of them are married. She says she prefers the married guys because they’re less likely to become emotionally attached. She’s about getting stamps in her passport, not a ring on her finger.

She’s also serious about not paying to travel with the guys she meets online. MissTravel requires members to upload a photo (something all dating sites should do, in my opinion), and it allows members to state a preference not to pay for trips.

It bears mentioning that site founder Brandon Wade is also the founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com. SeekingArrangement, geared toward sugar babies and the folks who support them, touts something called Mutually Beneficial Arrangements. The fact that they’ve trademarked the phrase basically sums up the nature of the site.

The headline for Heidy’s story calls her a sugar baby. I’m not sure that’s a fair characterization. Heidy is meeting up with people who will pay to travel with her, with the possibility of sex along the way. For her, the travel is the point. For the sugar baby, it’s all about the money. Money flows directly to the sugar baby, and so far as I can tell, the sugar baby’s relationship is far more likely to be sexual.

The concept of sex as currency makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but women have been exchanging sex for things of value as long as there have been women and things of value. If we want to be cynical about it (and I do, thanks for asking), we might describe much of the history of marriage as the exchange of sex for things of value. I think it’s just uncomfortable for people to be confronted by it. We might all be happier if the sugar babies and paid travel companions were plying their trade quietly, where we can’t see it, instead of in social media. At the same time, there’s a reason — perhaps an ugly reason — that billionaire romances were doing so well until the events of last winter.

I’d tell you to hop on the Maestra bandwagon, but no way these folks use a bandwagon. Click to buy.

Heidy’s story reminds me of Maestra, a novel Elizabeth Shore recommended not long ago. Heroine Judith Rashleigh enters a world of paid companionship and finds herself very much at home, even when she’s on the run, among wealthy people who sweep her up into their world. Judith just has to know her place and do as she’s told, and off she goes from one exotic locale to the next, gathering cash along the way. But Judith is capable of much more than her comrades know. The inner play of her emotions and her motivations, sometimes quite at odds with her outward appearance, makes for fascinating reading.

(By the way, two of us at Lady Smut have now granted their imprimatur to Maestra. If you grab it now, you’ll be ready for the sequel, Domina, when it comes out next month.)

But what to make of the paid companion and her somewhat seedier sister, the sugar baby? I had a difficult time coming to my usual position, to let a girl do what she wants as long as she’s chosen to do it and isn’t hurting anyone. Heidy’s been to 20 countries in three years. A high percentage of sugar babies are leaving college debt free, a thought that makes this attorney whimper wistfully. And even we call this prostitution, as some sugar babies do, the feminist in me says that if a woman owns her body, she should be free to sell it.

Still, something about this makes me uncomfortable.

For the right woman, clearly, arrangements work.

But how does the wrong woman discover that’s she’s not cut out for the world of pay for play?

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll keep it casual.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

Loving, Fiercely: Fifty Short Years

13 Jun

I bow to the Loving Project, both for this image and for their spectacular coverage of Loving Day 50.

By Alexa Day

Yesterday, June 12, 2017, was the fiftieth anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which made interracial marriage legal across the country. Loads of adorable interracial couples took to the Internet yesterday to thank Richard and Mildred Loving for their determination to defend their marriage against long-standing state law. This super-cute gallery is from last year, but couples turn up every year to smooch and be thankful.

Every year, someone asks me the same question.

“Alexa, are people still opposed to interracial marriage? After all this time, is that still a thing?”

In fairness, I have not heard that question yet this year. Maybe current events are answering the dubious for me. Nothing like hearing that some specimen left a noose at the National Museum of African American History and Culture to convince a person that yes, Virginia, people do still have an issue with racial equality.

But I’m going to approach this question squarely and honestly, by asking all of you to approach this question squarely and honestly. Take an objective look at the world around you.

Consider that 33 years after the Loving decision, Alabama finally got around to taking their anti-miscegenation law off the books. Consider that somewhere out there, someone’s first thought was that if the law was invalid anyway, why shouldn’t it hang out on the books for 33 years?

Consider that in 2009, there was a justice of the peace who would take the time to determine if a couple was interracial before refusing to marry them. In 2009. You might recall that the President of the United States at that time was the product of an interracial marriage.

And consider the many, many people who still endure hostile stares, snide remarks, ignorant questions, longstanding arguments with their families, and the occasional bold stranger who demands to know why they’ve chosen to marry outside their race. This will seem odd in a world where Richonne and a black Bachelorette and the golden days of Scandal are fresh in people’s minds. But in the real world, out there on the sidewalk with you, someone’s mom is being mistaken for the nanny. This happens all over the world, every day. Hip hop artist Eve, athletic goddess Serena Williams, and Prince Harry’s honey Meghan Markle have all had to take questions about the intersection of their racial identities and their love lives, and I promise that if it is happening to the three of them in the public eye, someone you know is having to deal with nastier questions.

So how do we fight this?

How a man looks at his wife is one thing. How he looks at the camera is quite another.

Take a lesson from Richard Loving. This is my favorite photo of him, with his arm around his wife. Mildred is smiling at someone off to our right, perhaps in the middle of a cheerful conversation about something other than being at the center of this court case.

Richard is looking right at us. His is the face of a man who knows his job is to keep his wife smiling, who takes his job very seriously, and who dares a nation of lookie-loos to make something of it.

Tell the Court I love my wife.

Or, if you’ll let me put frank language into his mouth: Fuck you. We’re happy.

How do we beat bigotry?

Choose happiness. Do it consistently, especially when people seem determined to make trouble. I can tell you from experience that this is harder than it sounds. One can only hear ignorant questions about what the sex is like or what everyone’s parents think so many times before wanting to flip out.

But today, we are much closer to a world where no one takes issue with marriage equality because of two ordinary people who wouldn’t back down. The least we can do is follow their example.

Love fiercely, my friends. And follow Lady Smut.

Speaking of loving fiercely, esteemed colleague Elizabeth SaFleur has a new release this week. Lucky is about a different sort of opposites attracted to each other, but my guess is that you can count on more BDSM in Lucky than in the average Supreme Court opinion. Click to score your copy of this super hot book about two people accustomed to getting what they want.

Click and go get it!

Billionaire, entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright and dance studio owner Samantha Rose are unprepared for their mutual attraction to one another. She desperately wants to have a baby, and family doesn’t match Derek’s sophisticated life of private jets, vacations in the Caribbean and his BDSM activities. Yet a magnetic passion draws them closer—at least until their past mistakes arise and threaten all hope of a real future.

All of the Above: Can Romance Play the Field?

6 Jun

What’s wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

By Alexa Day

I’m reading a book right now in which the heroine enjoys the abundant sexual charms of three partners. My guess is that she’ll eventually choose one of them — the cover for the next book in the series features two guys instead of three. But right now, she’s making no move to settle down.

The book is Taking Turns by J.A. Huss, and the heroine has an agreement with the three men. There are a number of stipulations, but once I heard that their arrangement basically entailed their putting her up in a nice apartment to take turns sleeping with her, I knew this was a story I needed to have.

It is romance’s most binding promise: the heroine will win, every time.

We can be sure that at the end of the story, she will be in a good place in her relationship, whatever that might look like. Maybe she’s getting ready to settle down with one guy. Maybe she’s establishing a relationship with a couple of guys (or more) in a relationship unit. I don’t object to that. Not really.

But this week, a troubling question tugged at my imagination.

Is the heroine winning big enough?

Put another way, why choose? Whatever happened to D: all of the above?

The modern romance heroine is a smart, successful, attractive woman. In the 21st century, a woman like that could — and honestly, ought to — have her choice of men. Indeed, more than one man would certainly be interested in her. But the modern romance heroine has less reason to settle down than ever. She’s at the top of her game, and she probably knows it. Why should she ever limit herself?

Even if she ultimately decides to choose one partner, why shouldn’t she take full advantage of what men have to offer first?

Chella is LIVING THE DREAM. Click to get some of that good stuff for yourself.

It’s important to note that this is neither menage nor polyamory. Both menage and polyamory involve multiple partners, yes. But in both situations, the men are aware of each other and have consented to share. They’re in a unit. Choosing menage or polyamory is settling down.

I’m talking about playing the field, in all its springtime glory, for as long as men will permit it. I’ve written it before. The heroine of Illicit Impulse has a bestie with benefits and an object of her more chaste desire. And in “Three, After Midnight,” the heroine enjoys a night of bliss with the spirit of her deceased husband, who’s borrowing the body of a hottie she seduced for that purpose.

Where’s the fun in limiting a fabulous heroine to one man, right? Why not let her have as much as she wants for as long as she wants to have it and her partners are willing to supply it?

I think there’s a group of romance readers who want, need and long for a heroine who is desired by many men, and who is determined to enjoy her status for as long as possible. I think romance readers need to know that in our abundant world, their heroine is free to lick as many men as will permit it. Their heroine doesn’t live in a world of masculine scarcity, and neither do they.

Consider Scandal in its golden days. For a long while, Olivia Pope thoroughly enjoyed the attentions of the President of the United States and the enigmatic Jake Ballard. When they had the audacity to suggest she choose one of them, she laughed and said she chose herself instead. She went right on sleeping with the both of them for as long as they permitted it — until Jake decided he wasn’t getting what he needed from the arrangement and bowed out.

And I’m reminded of a formative experience.

Look at those eyes, pleading, “Pick me! Pick me!”

I saw Tequila Sunrise in the theater in 1988, when I was quite young and impressionable. In the film, restaurant owner Michelle Pfeiffer must choose between reformed drug dealer Mel Gibson and police lieutenant Kurt Russell. That might not be a tough call today, knowing what we know, but in 1988, that was not an easy decision to make at all. I’m proud to say that Michelle spent the entire movie trying to make up her mind, and when it was all over, I left wondering how I could become a restaurant owner.

If Tequila Sunrise has a moral, it was to tell this child of the 80s that she could, in fact, have it all.

There should probably be limitations. The requirement that each men know about the others is not just about informed consent; I think it actually keeps everyone at their sharpest and most competitive. And of course, everyone would be free to stop playing as soon as things stopped working for them. Even in “Three, After Midnight,” the wrestling coach who found himself possessed by an eager spirit exercised his option to back out.

But with that in mind, why shouldn’t a heroine explore as many men — and as many relationships — as she wants?

Is there room in romance for a heroine to find more than one happily ever after, with more than one man, in more than one relationship?

Is it time for D: all of the above?

Follow Lady Smut. We won’t make you pick a lane.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

For the Good of the Party: Simple Steps to a Wild Bacchanal

9 May

By Alexa Day

I’m concerned about the state of the party.

Not that party. As far as I’m concerned, the politicos are a lost cause.

I’m concerned about the state of the house party.

The other night, I got to watch a documentary on George Plimpton. George was a man of many talents, a participatory journalist and one of the founders of The Paris Review. But he’s also remembered for hosting some pretty legendary parties. James Baldwin, Gay Talese, Allen Ginsberg, and the bright lights of Sixties lit fic pressed together on the couch, drinks in hand and laughing merrily.

Well, maybe not James Baldwin. He was glaring at the camera as if daring his fellow reveler to photograph him. I can empathize. I’m not big on being photographed, either.

I will concede that in the New York City of the 1960s, it was probably not all that difficult to throw a legendary party. I’ll also acknowledge that the line between literary salon and wild party was probably pretty thin at George’s place. My suspicion is that wherever two or three writers gathered, a party was likely to follow.

But I had to ask myself. Do we make parties like this anymore?

We’re right on the heels of the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Thousands of like-minded but delightfully distinct readers and writers enjoying loads and loads of parties, sharing the kind of memorable conversation that probably marked a Plimpton party. Parties like this are safe places to talk about what we’re reading and what we’re writing, without anyone asking to help with research or wondering when we’ll write “real books” or insinuating that “those books give us unrealistic expectations.”

They’re a sanctuary disguised as a bacchanal. How could that possibly be wrong?

Now, back in the real world, is it possible to preserve the magic of the wild party?

I have to believe that it is. It takes a little effort, and I’m sorry to say that adherence to rules is sometimes necessary. But I think you can manage.

What must you do? Read on.

1. Check your phones at the door. Some of you will resist, saying that you need to be in touch with babysitters and the like. (I’m presuming you got a babysitter. You don’t need me to spell that out, I’m sure.) I’m not so sure you need your phone as much as you suppose. You can always check in with it from time to time if you have to. If you have a Fitbit, as I do, your phone will tell you if it’s ringing. In any event, your phone is going to distract you, despite your best efforts. You’ll be more present for that intense conversation if you don’t have other claims on your attention.

2. Bring a stranger. The best parties promote the collision of worlds. Work friends meeting writer friends. Local friends meeting visiting friends. Friends of friends meeting each other. It’s too easy to get locked into parties with one group of people, people who have just one thing in common, people who all know you from the same place and in the same way. After that, it’s too easy to get locked into the same conversations. A diverse crowd of people is going to take that party to some deep and unexpected places after a while. To make this work, you as the hostess will have to make sure people are meeting each other. After all, these folks don’t have their phones, and they may be surrounded by strangers. But don’t worry. Introducing people might be a tough job, but before long, it will take care of itself.

3. Be patient. We live in a swipe-left-swipe-right world, and I’m asking you to talk with strangers. It’s a big change. Conversation takes time. It won’t always seem to be working. Modern society has taught us that we know each other right away, but the truth is that we have to invest a few minutes in getting to know another person without judging them. Find a few minutes.

4. Be honest. Deception kills parties. The great parties of old were great because no one had anything to prove to anyone else. I doubt seriously that Allen Ginsberg was holding back because he was worried about what Tom Wolfe would think of him. Be you, without apology. You’ll maintain that buzz more easily and get invited to more places.

One final word of advice. It’s not a good look to exclude people. Seriously, we would not have the story of Sleeping Beauty at all if Aurora’s parents had just invited Maleficent to the christening. Maleficent would probably have said no, but she would have very little in the way of legitimate grievance. People remember not being invited to a party. They will remember it for the rest of their lives, and they will not care even a little bit about why that decision was made. Trust me. It’s not a good look.

This brings me back to George Plimpton’s legendary parties. After fifty years on The Paris Review, George has moved on to the great literary salon in the world beyond this one, but the publication he helped create lives on in the 21st century. At the bottom of the page on The Paris Review’s website is a place to sign up for a newsletter promising to keep subscribers abreast of all the latest developments … including parties.

My heart made a giddy somersault as I plugged in my email address. Could it be this simple to join the in-crowd? Would The Paris Review newsletter counteract the emails I still receive from Snctm about their far less interesting get-togethers? I wondered what my first newsletter would look like.

But clicking the sign-up button brought me to, of all things, a MailChimp error page.

I was crushed. I could not believe The Paris Review was capable of such an error, despite what the grinning chimp said. Clearly, someone out there knew I was trying to get in and set up this elaborate scam to keep me from showing up in my cheap but comfortable shoes to defile the party with my coarse discourse. And once again, I had to be impressed by the effort required to make sure I stayed on the outside.

This would be a great place to quietly commit to throwing my own soirees. To outdo The Paris Review. To direct this disappointment into a much smaller sanctuary, disguised as a bacchanal.

And maybe I will someday.

But not before I find a way onto that mailing list.

Follow Lady Smut.

Hey, Girl, Sharing Is Caring: Why Sharing Secrets Is Cool, Sexy Fun

2 May

This couch is not big enough for five people. That’s just the way we need it.

By Alexa Day

By now, you’ve probably heard that Lady Smut is at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Oh, yes. Right now.

You’ve probably also heard that we’re going to have a party on Wednesday. It’s called NEVER HAVE YOU EVER EVER. And it’s a chance for you to share your naughtiest secrets for the shot at some awesome prizes.

Some of you are uncomfortable with the idea of telling a lot of strangers your naughtiest secrets. You didn’t even need to hear what the prize was, although I’ll get to that at the end of the post. That’s fine. If I stand for anything on Lady Smut, I stand for your right to choose not to do anything you don’t want to do. And don’t worry, you will still have lots of chances to win something.

But I’m also big on making you answer the tough questions.

Today’s tough question is this: Are you sure you don’t want to tell a naughty secret? Not even one? Not even a not-that-naughty secret?

Just consider these ideas.

Secrets can be fun. Secrets are intimate. Secrets build relationships.

Secrets are sharing, and as you know, sharing is caring.

Let’s demonstrate with a fun game.

I want you to imagine me, your faithful correspondent, sitting in the middle of the world’s longest fainting couch. Kind of like the one above, but much bigger. Almost big enough for five grown people to sit next to each other.

On my left are two really hot friends. Let’s say Mark Strong and Tom Hiddleston. In the past, they’ve played such fun games as “let’s kidnap Alexa with our super-expensive car” and “How to be Wicked,” and this will be much less risqué than either of those. Unless they don’t want it to be. I don’t know. I didn’t really ask about that.

On the right are two more really hot friends. Let’s say Ryan Gosling and Idris Elba. They’ve never played one of these fun games before, but like I said, this is not a totally inappropriate game like the others. In fact, I bet if Idris knew about our game, he would volunteer to play.

If you want, you can imagine your own fainting couch. Just pick your own hot friends, because these four are sitting with me. Come back when you’re ready.

Ready? We’ll start with Mark.

I’m going to slide over one spot to sit next to Mark, who wants to tell me a secret. Sharing a secret is going to require me to be physically close to Mark. Possibly close enough for our shoulders to touch. Or our thighs. Whatever makes you comfortable. I want everyone to be comfortable.

Mark is also going to have to put his face pretty close to mine so that I can hear him but Tom can’t. I created this couch, so it’s almost big enough but not quite. I’m not crazy.

And now Mark is going to have to lower his amazingly sexy voice to tell me whatever is on his mind right now.

Consider the warmth of that point of contact between me and Mark. Mark’s accent is curling around my ear. All the baby-fine hair on the back of my neck is rising toward Mark.

It almost doesn’t matter what Mark says at this point, right? I mean, I’m going to pay attention and everything, but the sheer physical giddiness of the secret itself is pretty compelling.

And I wouldn’t be so close to Mark if he didn’t have a secret to share with me.

Is your earspace going to be all warm and tingly from Mark’s secret?

Nope. Mark is sitting with me. But if you’re willing to hear a secret or two, one of your hot friends will do you the same favor.

Once Mark has wound up and I’ve assured him that whatever he said is in the vault, Tom decides that he needs to tell me something, too. This is perfectly normal. I mean, I have a face like that, but it’s normal for a person to seek out an especially trustworthy person for the disclosure of confidences. Sharing secrets makes you that trustworthy person. Just think about that.

It looks like fun and games to us, but Tom has a lot on his mind. You could be there for him. If he were not sitting with me.

Tom and I really are just friends. I think he’s a sweetheart, but I’m not attracted to him at all, and no, he cannot sit with you now because he is still sitting with me.

I’m going to be a little firm with you. You need to find four really hot friends who are not sitting with me.

Anyway.

Physically, I’m as close to Tom as I was to Mark. Similar point of contact, accent curling around the ear, the whole thing. I have to imagine that Tom is one of those guys who smells really expensive. Once Tom is done telling me whatever he’s got to tell me, he’s going to pat my knee in a we’re-friends kind of way and say, “Now, that’s just between us.”

Stop.

How did I get to be part of an “us” with Tom Hiddleston? I let him share a secret with me. Disclosure of confidences can make you part of an “us,” too. You want to be part of an “us,” right? Sure, you do.

But not with Tom. Tom is sitting next to me.

Be picking your own friends while I go sit next to Ryan.

Ryan and I have not been friends for as long as Mark, Tom and I have, which is to say that I have never involved him in one of these imaginary games. That’s actually just fine with Ryan. See, Ryan has something that’s wearing heavily on his heart. He wants to tell someone, but he’s concerned he will be judged.

Ryan’s best bet is to tell a total stranger whatever is bothering him so much. He doesn’t know that I won’t judge him. As far as he knows, there’s still a chance I will leap to some conclusion about him. But he thinks he’ll never see me again, so who cares what I think about him?

“Hey, girl,” says Ryan. “You want to hear something crazy?”

The answer to this question should probably always be yes. There are some exceptions, and they will leap out at you when they occur. But my advice is to say yes whenever you can and figure it out later. This is what has worked for me.

“Sure, Ryan,” I say. “What’s going on?”

And then Ryan purses his mouth up in that Ryan way and leans over to tell me whatever he needs to tell me so badly. We don’t know each other all that well, so we’re probably not as close together. But one only has to be so close to Ryan Gosling, right?

When Ryan has told me his secret, which is not as troubling as he thinks it is but would probably bother someone out there, he is in a place of vulnerability. It’s an opportunity for me to share some strength with him. Reassure him that I’m not shocked at all. I know he’s a good person. I’m sure no one will think anything about this. Then I’ll give Ryan one of my best reassuring hugs, and we will both feel better. One of us will feel a great deal better.

Want Ryan Gosling to hug you?

Too bad. Ryan is sitting next to me. I feel like we have to keep going over this.

Want your own hot friend to hug you? Open up. Tell your hot friend a secret. A secret can make a safe place for new friendships.

Before Ryan can get uncomfortable with the length and intensity of this hug, I’m going to let go of him and move over to Idris.

Don’t let Idris play this phone crap with you. He can sit on the couch like everyone else.

Idris and I are going to have a conversation first. I get the impression that he’s an open book. After all, he sent a picture of himself in a state of undress to the entire Twitterverse when he intended to send it privately to his girlfriend. He sought out some brutally honest dating advice from little kids. Idris probably doesn’t have anything buttoned up deep inside him.

This is good news for me. It means I get to tell Idris something.

“Hey, you know what?” I say.

“What?” he says.

Go back and imagine that again. Make sure you have the accent right.

“What?” he says.

Now, I have to initiate with Idris because it’s my secret. So I have to lean over and put my face up against his and whisper something to him. Something complicated. No need to rush through this.

Once I’m done, I’m going to lean back again. Then Idris is going to tell me a secret. Hey, why not? We’re all friends here. Let’s be friendly.

So Idris is going to lean over to share a special point of fact with me. Same point of contact, same curling accent, the whole thing. And why? Because quid pro quo. Show me yours. You know the tune.

Am I saying that Idris Elba will lean over close to you to whisper in your ear once you share a secret with him?

No. Are you paying attention? Idris is sitting next to me.

But you can find your own roomful of friends tomorrow at the Lady Smut Never Have I Ever Ever Ever event. Some of them are probably better with sharing than I am.

Not at RT this year? It’s cool. We will have lots of crazy, sexy cool things happening right here on the blog. I promise.

And if you’re not following Lady Smut already, now is seriously the time. Your secrets are safe with us.

Tiaras. Fetish toys. Tiaras. Smoking hot books. Tiaras. And goodybags for the first 100 people in line. It’s the Lady Smut Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever event. And it’s on Wednesday afternoon at 1:30.

You’ll be glad you went.

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